PRINT April 2015


Ken Jacobs’s The Guests

Ken Jacobs, The Guests, 2013, 35 mm transferred to 3-D digital video, black-and-white and color, sound, 73 minutes.

The truest, most astounding, and perhaps most dangerous glory of the Lumière brothers is not to have spun the development of a “seventh art”. . . . No, its glory is having created a form of witchcraft akin to that of the prophet Joshua, which frees our worldview from servitude to the single rhythm of external, solar, and terrestrial time.

—Jean Epstein, L’intelligence d’une machine (1946)*

WHEN THE GREAT FILMMAKER and theorist Jean Epstein made the slightly mad claim cited above, it’s unlikely he had in mind anything resembling The Guests, a recent venture into the world of digital 3-D by the esteemed avant-garde moviemaker Ken Jacobs. Subjecting the latter half of the Lumière brothers’ film Entrée d’une noce à l’église (A Wedding Party Enters the Church, 1897) to his own inimitable sorcery, Jacobs more or less demolishes the spatio-temporal integrity of the original, exceeding

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